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German howitzers will give Lithuania defence capability the country and the Baltic Region have never had

2015.09.29
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Video report by Sergeant Specialist Lukas Kalvaitis

 

On September 29 a contract on procuring PzH2000 self-propelled howitzers from the German Armed Forces was endorsed at the Ministry of National Defence. The contract was signed by MoD Director General for Capabilities and Armaments Colonel Darius Užkuraitis and Head of Armament Department of the Federal Ministry of Defence Wilfried Georg. Commander of the Logistics Command Colonel Sigitas Mundris signed the contract on behalf of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, the recipient of the equipment. The contract was endorsed in the presence of Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas and Ambassador of Germany in Lithuania HE Jutta Schmitz.

 

“I very much welcome the contract on procurement of PzH2000 howitzers we have signed today. It will elevate fire support capability of the Lithuanian Armed Forces to a new level, bearing in mind that fire support is a vital element of defence in modern warfare,” Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas said after the signature. Minister also thanked Germany for the understanding and a particularly speedy preparation of the contract for purchasing self-propelled howitzers of one of the most advanced types in the world.

 

Ambassador of Germany in Lithuania HE Jutta Schmitz underscored at the signing ceremony that cooperation between Germany and Lithuania was gathering pace, while signing of the contract stressed its importance and the trend to be just as successful in the future.

 

“Finding a comparison to the measure of growth of artillery power in the Lithuanian Armed Forces is not easy because Lithuania and the Baltic Region have ever seen the capability we will receive,” Colonel D.Užkuraitis said after signing the contract. Colonel underlined that the PzH2000 howitzers may be used for firing tasks both as individual units and paired, at a platoon or battery level. Elements of control will ensure that all the howitzers are integrated into a system capable of achieving the desired effect of concentrated fire assignments.

 

The Lithuanian Armed Forces will obtain 21 155mm self-propelled howitzers from the German Armed Forces under the contract. 16 of them will be usable for combat purposes, 2 will be used for training firing and driving skills, and 3 more – for spare parts. The Lithuanian Armed Forces will also receive 26 M577 V2 armoured command vehicles and 6 BPZ2 recovery tanks. All of the procured equipment was formerly used by the German Armed Forces.

 

EUR 58.3 million, to be allotted until 2019, has been appropriated for the artillery enhancement project. EUR 16.2 million will be paid to Germany for 53 pieces of military equipment. The rest of the sum (EUR 42.1 million) will be used for modernisation of the equipment, installation of battlefield management system and communications and control equipment, for adjusting military infrastructure for the new howitzers and for training personnel to operate them.

 

Representatives of the German Armed Forces began training Lithuanian troops on the eve of signing the contract; experience is shared and integration of the procured PzH2000 155 mm self-propelled howitzers into the Lithuanian Armed Forces is discussed.

 

Representatives of the German Armed Forces will also instruct Lithuanian soldiers on technical maintenance and servicing and operation of the equipment, and its employment in operations at operational planning level.

 

The new purchase of the Lithuanian Armed Forces will be used by General Romualdas Giedraitis Artillery Battalion of the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf based in Rukla. The Battalion currently operates 105mm howitzers with effective range of 11 kilometres, while the new PzH2000 self-propelled howitzers will enable it to destroy targets at the range of 40 km.

 

Lithuanian Armed Forces’ personnel will begin training for using the new purchase this year.

 

The first of the howitzers are expected to be brought to Lithuania in 2016, with the rest to come until the deadline of 2019.

 

Video report by Sergeant Specialist Lukas Kalvaitis

 

Photo credits: Alfredas Pliadis

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